Early N.E. storm disrupts Halloween

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Twelve-year-old McKenzie Gallasso was deciding between dressing as a witch or a werewolf when the phone rang Monday with bad news: Halloween had been canceled.

Police in her Hartford suburb of South Windsor advised families to call off trick-or-treating because of the October storm that downed power lines and left three-quarters of the town without electricity.

"I was upset because I really wanted to go trick-and-treating and get candy," said McKenzie, who added her mother did not want her to go out anyway because of the snow. "This year I'll have to eat candy from my mom."

The storm that spooked the Northeast with a blanket of wet, branch-snapping snow was forcing cities and town to discourage or postpone Halloween festivities -- decisions that did not sit well with legions of ghosts, goblins and princesses who were already homebound due to widespread school cancelations.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy even suspended the annual tradition of handing out candy at the governor's mansion, heeding the decision of Hartford's mayor to discourage trick-or-treating. He urged mayors and other municipal officials to make decisions themselves about Halloween celebrations.

"No amount of candy is worth a potentially serious or even fatal accident," said Malloy, who noted power was still out for about 40 percent of the capital city.

Two days after the nor'easter charged up the East Coast, many towns said they were simply too many hazards including snow-clogged sidewalks, slippery surfaces and the possibility of more falling tree limbs. Some urged parents to take children trick-or-treating at malls or organize activities at home with friends.

In the village of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., which trades on its connection to Washington Irving's Gothic tale "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," a haunted hayride was postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of the storm. The rescheduled event was canceled because of "broken limbs and branches that are still hanging from trees along the route," Mayor Ken Wray wrote on the village website.

Elsewhere in Sleepy Hollow, the "Horseman's Hollow," a haunted trail with a Headless Horseman theme, was closed Sunday, as was "Irving's 'Legend,"' a dramatic retelling of the story.

Those two attractions, which were not scheduled to be open on Halloween, are run by Historic Hudson Valley, which also operates the very popular "Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze" at Van Cortlandt Manor in nearby Croton-on-Hudson. That attraction, which features 4,000 hand-carved, illuminated jack o' lanterns, was canceled Sunday and the organization said it could not open for Halloween night as scheduled.